Five young entrepreneurs announced as finalists for Verizon/Unloc Enterprise Challenge

The Verizon/Unloc Enterprise Challenge, an annual online tech-entrepreneurship competition for young people across Europe, has announced the five finalists who will compete for the competition’s £10,000 Grand Prize, which also includes funding, mentorship and a technology package. They will pitch their ideas live to a panel of expert judges in a Grand Final, taking place on 30th January 2020 at Verizon’s Central London Mid-City Place offices.

The five finalists are:

  • Jamie Bankhead, 23: Jamie is the founder of Konglomerate Games, a video games company specialising in gamified experiences that improve the health and wellbeing of children with long term illnesses.
  • Nicolas Carmont, 21: Nicolas is the founder of NetZero, a fintech app that lets you track your carbon footprint.
  • Josh Clarke, 23: Josh is founder of Occumi, a platform that helps students to identify, understand, and better articulate the transferable skills that they have developed from their education and work experience.
  • Myles Jardine, 23: Myles is the founder of UK UnifyEd, a one-stop student recruitment, application & scholarship system which helps UK universities attract international students and improve conversion rates, and which helps students find the necessary funding to further their studies.
  • Yanik Nyberg, 24: Yanik is the founder of Seawater Solutions, an agri-tech company that develops approaches which allow degraded farmland to be turned into healthy wetland ecosystems where food is grown using seawater for climate resilience.

The finalists were selected from an incredibly competitive field of young entrepreneurs, aged 16-25, and representing 18 European countries, who put themselves forward for the Challenge by recording a 60-90 second pitch video, and completing a comprehensive application form. 

A joint Unloc/Verizon team reviewed applications on their viability, technology innovation and sustainability. Now, the five finalists will compete head-to-head to win the overall prize by pitching their concepts live to a panel of expert judges and over 100 invited guests representing both business and education.

The judges at the Grand Final are Nicola Brentnall (Chief Executive of The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust), Detlef Eppig (Executive Director, Global Network Operations, Verizon Business Group), Dyanne Ierardo (head of International Human Resources, Verizon) and Kate Robertson (Founder of One Young World).

Unloc is a social enterprise that works with schools and colleges to inspire, motivate and develop entrepreneurship in young people. The organisation has expanded-rapidly in recent years from a local business ran by two young entrepreneurs into a national operation which now has partnerships with over 100 leading schools and colleges.

Verizon has a long history of supporting innovation. In the United States, the Verizon Innovative Learning initiative provides next-generation technology access and innovative curricula to millions of under-resourced students to prepare them for a tech-dependent economy. 

In addition, Verizon 5G Labs work with local innovators to grow the 5G ecosystem, exploring the boundaries of 5G network technology, co-creating new applications and hardware, and rethinking what’s possible in a 5G world.

“It’s exciting to be approaching the final of this year’s Challenge”, said Hayden Taylor, Managing Director of Unloc. “We’re looking forward to seeing the finalists pitches, and helping one lucky winner take the first step to turning their idea into a business.”

“Verizon strongly believes that by promoting entrepreneurship we can promote independence, innovation and success”, said Dyanne Ierardo, head of International HR for Verizon. 

“The Verizon team has really enjoyed working on this competition, and was particularly impressed with the quality and quantity of ideas that the competition attracted. We’re looking forward to the grand final, but would also like to thank all the entrants for their passion and commitment to their cause.”